Liberals reject Karen Wang’s request to run again as party’s candidate in Burnaby South byelection


VANCOUVER—The federal Liberal party is shutting the door on its former candidate in the Burnaby South byelection after she expressed second thoughts about resigning.

Karen Wang, who until Wednesday was the Liberal candidate running against NDP leader Jagmeet Singh in the highly anticipated byelection, Wednesday resigned over comments she made on social media about Singh’s race. Later, she asked the prime minister to let her run after all.

But the party has decided against letting Wang run under the Liberal banner.

“Recent online comments by Karen Wang are not aligned with the values of the Liberal Party of Canada. The Liberal Party has accepted her resignation as a candidate and she will not represent the Liberal Party in the Burnaby South byelection,” wrote Braeden Caley, Liberal Party spokesperson in an email Thursday.

Wang, a daycare operator who was selected last month to run for the Liberals in one of the country’s most diverse ridings, Saturday urged voters over the Chinese social media network WeChat to vote for her, “the only Chinese candidate in the riding,” rather than her opponent Singh, “of Indian descent.”

She apologized to Singh Wednesday, after the Star published details of the WeChat post initially published in Chinese, and stepped down as the Liberal candidate in the riding.

“My choice of words wasn’t well-considered and didn’t reflect my intent,” she said in the Wednesday statement, adding that she has deep respect for the NDP leader.

Speaking in a phone interview before she knew the Liberal party’s response to her request to run again, Wang said she has the « heart and passion » to serve Burnaby South and that she would consider running as an independent if the Liberals wouldn’t take her back.

Read more:

‘It makes us look bad’: Burnaby’s Chinese-Canadian community reacts to Karen Wang’s resignation over WeChat post

Peter Julian, NDP MP for New West Burnaby, which neighbours Burnaby South, called Wang’s on-again off-again candidacy “bizarre and confusing.”

“The prime minister needs to answer for this,” Julian told the Star Thursday. “He hasn’t commented on the Liberal campaign at all.”

Julian said the NDP campaign in Burnaby South meanwhile remains focused on knocking on doors and speaking to voters about election issues like housing.

In a statement Thursday, Green Party Leader Elizabeth May said it’s not too late for the Liberals to do the “right thing” by not running anyone against Singh. May announced last year that her party would follow the so-called “leader’s courtesy” by giving an opposing party leader a pass when they try to win a seat during a byelection.

“Stéphane Dion extended it to me in 2008 and the courtesy has been extended to former leaders such as Joe Clark, Stockwell Day, Stephen Harper, Jean Chrétien and Robert Stanfield,” May said.

“Let Jagmeet Singh run unopposed in the Burnaby-South byelection.”

News of Wang’s resignation was met with mixed reactions from Burnaby’s large Chinese-Canadian community. Some members of the community told the Star Wednesday they were disappointed by Wang’s apparent attempt to appeal to persuade voters on the basis of race.

With files from The Canadian Press

Melanie Green is a Vancouver-based reporter covering food, culture and policy. Follow her on Twitter: @mdgmediaAlex McKeen is a Vancouver-based reporter covering wealth and work. Follow her on Twitter: @alex_mckeen

Alex Ballingall is an Ottawa-based reporter covering national politics. Follow him on Twitter: @aballinga


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Striking Saskatoon Co-op employees reject latest contract offer – Saskatoon


Striking Saskatoon Co-op employees who have been walking the picket line for over two months have rejected the latest contract offer from the company.

The company said 60 per cent of United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) local 1400 who voted on Friday rejected the offer.

UFCW picketers rally outside FCL in downtown Saskatoon

Saskatoon Co-op CEO Grant Wicks said although they are disappointed with the result, they see it as progress towards a new contract.

“Given how close the vote was, we’re still optimistic that we can work with the union and our employees to reach an agreement,” Wicks said in a statement.

Roughly 900 union members have been off the job since Nov. 1, 2018.

The main issue is the company’s desire to bring in a second-tier wage scale for new employees.

The union has said the two-tier wage system would lower wages for women and vulnerable groups.

WATCH BELOW: Coverage of the Saskatoon Co-op strike by member of UFCW local 1400

The company said its latest offer had revisions to the second-tier wage structure, including less positions in the second-tier and higher starting wages.

Saskatoon Co-op has said the current wage ranges are unsustainable and changes are needed for the company to remain competitive.

Saskatoon Co-op employees voting on new contract

No new bargaining dates have been announced.

The strike is impacting Co-op grocery stores, gas stations, and other locations in Saskatoon and area.

The food store and gas bar at the Centre Mall on 8th Street is not affected as employees at those locations are represented by a different union.

With files from Rebekah Lesko.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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Trudeau government would reject Jason Kenney, taxpayers group in carbon tax court fight


The Trudeau government has told the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal it should not grant intervenor status to Jason Kenney’s United Conservative Party or the Canadian Taxpayers Federation in a key test case on the constitutional right of the federal government to impose a national carbon tax.

The brief, submitted to the court Wednesday by federal lawyers, argues that the Saskatchewan court should reject a request from the UCP to be an intervenor because its contribution would be “political and speculative.” It says the court should similarly reject a request from the CTF because the it “has not established any special expertise in general economics or the economics of carbon pricing.”

Agricultural Producers Association of Sask. hoping to join fight against carbon tax

The case before the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal was brought by the government of Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe, who opposes any carbon tax. Moe has been joined by Ontario Premier Doug Ford, Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister and New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs in opposition to the federal carbon pricing plan.

On the other hand, the federal government has consented to requests by eight other organizations to have intervenor status in the case. They are:

  1. Saskatchewan Power Corporation and SaskEnergy Inc.
  2. Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation
  3. Canadian Environmental Law Association/Environmental Defence Canada
  4. Canadian Public Health Association
  5. David Suzuki Foundation
  6. Ecofiscal Commission
  7. Intergenerational Climate Coalition
  8. International Emissions Trading Association

Saskatchewan’s carbon tax court challenge to be heard in February

The federal government also argues that the court in Saskatchewan should reject requests for intervenor status by the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan and the Assembly of First Nations. It says those groups “do not address the constitutional issues before the court.”



© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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Calgarians reject 2026 Olympic bid in citywide plebiscite


CALGARY—It has had many close calls and near misses, but Calgary’s Olympic bid faces an all-but-certain end after Tuesday’s vote.

A majority 56.4 per cent of voters cast their ballots against continuing with a bid for the 2026 Winter Games in Calgary’s plebiscite in results announced a little before 10 p.m, with more than 300,000 votes counted.

Tears follow the Tuesday night announcement that Calgarians voted 56.4 per cent against the city making a bid for the 2026 Winter Olympics.
Tears follow the Tuesday night announcement that Calgarians voted 56.4 per cent against the city making a bid for the 2026 Winter Olympics.  (Christina Ryan / StarMetro Calgary)

Because the funds the provincial and federal governments offered for the cost of hosting are conditional on a “yes” in the mandated plebiscite, the bid almost certainly won’t go on from here. City council still must make the move to stop work on the bid official.

The decision follows a majority of Calgary city councillors voting in favour of stopping the bid process two weeks ago, with Ward 8 Councillor and Olympic assessment committee chair Evan Woolley submitting a series of recommendations that included cancelling the plebiscite. That move ultimately failed because it didn’t clear the higher required threshold of 10 council votes.

Woolley said he doesn’t feel that council presented a funding deal that was good enough or timely enough for Calgarians to have enough information to make a decision.

“The recommendations will look very, very similar to the ones I moved two weeks ago,” he said.

“There’s a number of administrative things we have to do, but the motion will be quite simple, and then there will be work behind the scenes.”

Ward 11 Councillor Jeromy Farkas described the vote as a “come-from-behind victory” for the “no” side.

“It’s been a real David versus Goliath on steroids when you think of the resources available to promote the ‘yes’ side of the bid,” he said.

Yes Calgary blanketed the city with campaign materials over the last week, including lawn signs, advertisements and robocalls, some featuring Mayor Naheed Nenshi describing the reasons he is a “yes” vote.

Meanwhile, the No Calgary Olympics campaign held a rally at Olympic Plaza on Saturday urging Calgarians to vote against the bid, but they had comparably fewer volunteers and resources to work with.

No Calgary Olympics organizer Erin Waite said she views the results as a sign that Calgarians thought seriously about the potential risks that come with hosting the Games.

“A ‘no’ vote says that they saw the excitement of hosting the Olympic Games and the fun that that event could drive, but weighed that against all the other factors that are important to consider,” she said.

The Calgary Olympic Bid Corp. estimates the cost of hosting the Games in Calgary at $5.1 billion, with the city, province and federal government contributing $2.875 billion.

That budget, and a subsequent cost-sharing proposal, came after BidCo originally set the cost of hosting at $5.2 billion, with $3 billion coming from public funds — but after a negotiating deadlock and Woolley’s move to cancel the plebiscite, a late-night funding proposal revived the bid process.

According to a funding proposal currently on the table, Calgary would pay $370 million in cash, plus an additional $20 million to purchase an insurance policy. The provincial government has committed $700 million, and Ottawa will pay about $1.4 billion if Calgary’s hosting bid succeeds.

Ward 4 Councillor Sean Chu, who has been a vocal opponent of the Olympic bid, welcomed the plebiscite results.

“Congratulations, Calgarians. Your common sense prevailed,” he said.

Chu said he continues to believe that hosting is bad for the city’s finances.

“It’s like your household: you already have the debt of your mortgage. And (on the ‘yes’ side), it’s like, ‘Let’s go buy a Ferrari.’

“Is this how you run your finances? I don’t think so.”

Ward 9 Councillor Gian-Carlo Carra, who lent his voice to the “yes” campaign in the days leading up to the vote, said he thinks the city still needs to consider how to effectively present itself to the world.

“If we’re not using the Olympic Games to do that, we’re going to have to do that anyway. The conversation becomes: how do we do that in a meaningful way?” he said.

He added that challenges remain without the Olympic bid, including figuring out a way to boost the stock of affordable housing in Calgary and upgrading the sport venues left from the 1988 Games — two benefits that BidCo said would come from hosting in 2026.

Ward 12 Councillor Shane Keating said he also worries about what the plan is to upgrade the city’s sport infrastructure without the Olympics.

“All of the renovations to McMahon Stadium, BMO Centre, Olympic Oval, Canada Olympic Park, none of that will happen,” he said.

The 2026 draft hosting plan also proposed to build a new mid-sized arena and field house for Calgary. The latter project has been a city infrastructure priority for years, but has remained unfunded.

“The field house — which is an absolute shame we don’t have one yet — will still have to be funded at some point in time,” Keating said.

Two other bids are currently in the running for the 2026 Games: Stockholm, Sweden and a joint bid from the Italian cities of Milan and Cortina. The deadline for submitting bid books to the International Olympic Committee is in January 2019, and the final host city decision is slated for June.

Madeline Smith is a reporter/photographer with StarMetro Calgary. Follow her on Twitter: @meksmith


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